Here it is, late August, our hottest and driest part of the year, and our grass is still soaking wet each morning from dew. That is the blessing of living so near a river, where the cool fog rolls in every night and drenches the landscape. This morning I moved some fencing, and my sweat pants were sopping wet up to my hips by the time I was done.

We are not quite at parity between sheep and grass, still having to mow some sections to keep the grass in a vegetative state that’s most nutritious and good for grazing. This season has been incredible for grass, with a perfect rhythm of torrential rainstorms and hot sunny days, interleaved. Our garden is also going insane, even with things like tomatoes, which can be a struggle to grow here.

The rams and ram lambs are grazing our hillsides, enjoying nose-high forage and lush weeds. In each new section, they rush to find their favorite, the morning glory vines, and eat them first. We once cursed this noxious vine that was taking over everything. Now, we have very little of it, it’s such a sheep favorite. At times I search for it when I want to feed a sick sheep who could use its iron boost, and it’s hard to find.

This section of our property has a lot of volunteer comfrey, with its giant, hairy leaves. Also called “knitbone,” it is known for having tissue healing properties; but has been controversial in recent times for potentially being toxic to humans in certain preparations. Interestingly, I find the rams don’t relish it as much, eating some, trampling and leaving most. The ewes, on the other hand, devour it first thing, eating every last bit of leaf down to the stump of the stem. The plants are vigorous, they bounce right back from being grazed.

The ewes are on a fresh section of reed canarygrass. Usually this time of summer, I cheat a bit, and set-stock them for 20 or 30 days, so I have less work moving fencing. This field is at the perfect height for grazing, not too tall, not too short. The RCG grows with a vengeance when we have this kind of weather, hot, with bouts of generous rain.

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